Sarah is originally from Willoughby, Ohio. She attended Xavier Unversity in Cincinnati as an undergraduate where she received a B.S. in Biology. She then went on to earn her Ph.D. in Genetics and Development at Cornell University in the laboratory of Dr. Brian Lazzaro, and continued her training as a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Unversity with Dr. George Dimopoulos. Dr. Short joined the Department of Entomology at OSU in August, 2018.
Our lab is broadly interested in understanding the factors that influence variation in susceptibilty to pathogen infection and transmission of infectious disease. We study how insects interact with harmful and helpful microbes and the ecological and evolutionary forces shaping insect immune defense. As vector biologists, we are also interested in finding ways to use this information to improve our ability to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases. We primarly study Aedes aegypti, the mosquito vector of dengue and Zika virus. We are currently focusing on two major research areas:
1. The factors determining the formation and maintenance of the mosquito microbiome. The mosquito midgut microbiome is an important determinant of vector borne disease transmission, but it varies between species, location, and even between individuals in the same population. It also varies across developmental stages and as a result of changes in diet. We are interested in better understanding the environmental, physiological, and genetic factors that shape bacterial populations in the mosquito gut. We are currently studying the impact of larval nutrition on adult microbiome formation. Our approach is multifacetd, combining high throughput methods (e.g. bacterial 16S high-throughput sequencing, transcriptomics) and targeted molecular techniques (e.g. RNAi and qPCR) to quantitatively assess organism and population-level phenotypes.
2. The impact of the microbiome on mosquito capacity to transmit pathogens? The bacteria associated with mosquitoes can have important implications for their susceptibility to infection by pathogens like dengue virus. We are interested in taking this further, and investigating how the microbiome impacts life history traits critical for disease transmission. We study this at the level of individual organisms as well as populations, asking how the microbiome impacts the life history of a single mosquito and the extent to which the microbiome could influence variation in pathogen transmission.
ENTMLGY 5605, Vector Biology and Vector Borne Disease. An overview of the insect vectors that pose the greatest threats to human health. Learn about their basic ecology and behavior, the pathogens they transmit, the diseases caused by those pathogens, and the fascinating biology behind these vector-pathogen-host interactions. Learn also about current methods being implemented around the globe to control vector borne disease transmission. Prereq: Biology 1101, 1113, or 1113H; or permission of instructor.